One UI 2.0 further refined the user interface overhaul that Samsung introduced with One UI 1.0 two years ago. The company continues to improve its custom Android skin and normally introduces new features alongside its latest flagship devices. So it wasn’t a surprise to see the Galaxy S20 flagship lineup ship with One UI 2.1, the latest iteration of Samsung’s custom Android skin. The company also ships the Galaxy Z Flip foldable smartphone with One UI 2.1.
The Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy Z Flip are the first smartphones from Samsung to run One UI 2.1 with Android 10 on board. The company will soon release this iteration of its skin for existing devices. It has already released One UI 2.1 for the Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 10 as well as the Galaxy Fold.
One UI 2.1 design and enhancements
It seems like the brief given to Samsung’s software design team for One UI 2.1 was simple: Improve existing functionality and add new features that prove to be really useful. The team has certainly delivered as One UI 2.1 adds few but meaningful new features.
The user interface has been cleaned up further with One UI 2.1 to allow for a more visually pleasing feel. It also supports the 120Hz refresh rate that’s only available on the Galaxy S20 series for now with more fluid animations. Samsung has made improvements to its native keyboard and the sharing experience to make the UI easier to use and type on. It has also added some very useful new features in addition to improving the multimedia experience.
One UI 2.1 brings smoother animations that appear to naturally react to every screen touch. This looks particularly nice on the Galaxy S20 lineup with the 120Hz refresh rate enabled. On devices that support 120Hz refresh rate, the difference in touch response is instantly noticeable. Smooth scrolling with crisp web content that suffers no lag is certainly a joy to behind. One UI 2.1 also adds an adaptive mode to these devices for a white list of apps in which the display refresh rate can automatically switch between 60Hz and 120Hz.
Best One UI 2.1 features
Quick Share is certainly one of the best new features of One UI 2.1. Quick Share allows you to easily share files with up to five people closeby. It uses Bluetooth to create a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi network between the devices so that you can send files, photos and videos quickly. Users have the option to either receive Quick Share requests from anyone around them (as long as their screen is turned on) or just from Samsung Social users who are in their contacts.
Music Share is another highly useful feature that comes with One UI 2.1. This Bluetooth passthrough feature lets you share your device’s Bluetooth connection to a speaker with another person. If your phone is connected to the Bluetooth speaker in your living room, you don’t have to disconnect it first just so your friend can play music from their phone. Your friend’s phone can piggyback off of your phone’s connection to the speaker to play music on it. Both devices need to be running Android 10 for Music Share to work.
One UI 2.1 brings Android’s Live Caption feature as well. The Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Z Flip are the only non-Pixel devices to support this accessibility feature. Live Caption automatically displays real-time captions for videos, podcasts and audio messages without requiring a data connection. Samsung isn’t bringing this feature to older devices that have received One UI 2.1, though.
Samsung has added a lot of augmented reality features to its software over the past couple of years. They were sort of all over the place which made it difficult for users to find all of them. Samsung has thus introduced the AR Zone app with One UI 2.1 which brings all of the different AR features together in one place, making it very easy to find all of them.
Best One UI 2.1 camera features
Samsung has particularly focused on adding new camera features with One UI 2.1. Single Take is perhaps one of the best One UI 2.1 camera features. It saves you from the hassle of trying to figure out whether you want to take a photo or a video of the moment that you want to capture. This AI-based camera mode can capture up to four videos and ten photos using the entire variety of rear cameras on the device to offer wide, ultra-wide, Live Focus, 15-second video clips and boomerangs, all ready to be shared to your favorite social media.
Samsung has introduced a Pro mode for Video with One UI 2.1. It allows for more granular control of the camera settings when capturing video. This mode allows you to manually set white balance, exposure, ISO, focus, etc for videos. All of the levels can be adjusted while recording video. It has also made it possible to switch between the front and rear cameras while recording video, something that wasn’t possible before.
One UI 2.1 allows for easier management of images as the Gallery can automatically cluster similar images in groups so that multiple photos can be organized at once. It’s also possible to create limitless album groups with multiple depths.
One UI 2.1 release
The Galaxy S20 and the Galaxy Z Flip were the first devices to come with One UI 2.1 out of the box. Samsung has since released this update for the Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note 10 and the Galaxy Fold. Even though it’s based on Android 10, not all Samsung devices that run Android 10 will get One UI 2.1. The Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9, for example, won’t get this update.
Samsung has also begun working on One UI 2.5, the next iteration of its custom Android skin, which is expected to first ship with the Galaxy Note 20 due later this year.